The National Park Service oversees Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in south-central Alaska, which is home to the United States of America. This was done in 1980 when the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act was signed into law. As part of Kluane/Wrangell–St. Elias UNESCO World Heritage Site, the protected regions are part of an International Biosphere Reserve. There are enough acres in the park and preserve to cover six Yellowstone National Parks, making it the biggest maintained area by the National Park Service. Although most of the tallest peaks in the United States and Canada are within 10 miles of the tidewater, the Saint Elias Mountains that make up the majority of the park’s landmass have one of the world’s greatest reliefs. To the east, Wrangell–St. Elias shares a border with Kluane National Park and Reserve, while to the south, Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska awaits. Recreational hunting is restricted in the national park, whereas it’s allowed in the preserves. In addition, the park and preserve include 9,078,675 acres, making it the country’s biggest wilderness area.
From the ocean, the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park climbs to a height of 18,008 feet. The park’s 13.2 million acres are comparable in size to Yellowstone, Yosemite, and all of Switzerland put together! For ages, people have lived off the soil in this untamed terrain. Adventure awaits you in this harsh and magnificent area.
Entrances and how to reach the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
A paved road passes through Copper Center, AK, where the Wrangell-St. Elias Visitor Center is situated at mile marker 106.8 Richardson Highway (Hwy 4). About 10 miles south of Glennallen, AK lies this tourist center; it’s about 200 miles northeast of Anchorage AK, and about 250 miles south of Fairbanks, AK. It is possible to enter the park by either the Nabesna or the McCarthy roads, respectively. In both cases, the State of Alaska is responsible for the upkeep of the dirt paths. To learn more about the dirt roads throughout the park, see our page on Driving Park Roads.
An entry point is situated approximately 75 miles northeast of Copper Center, AK in Slana, which is home to the Nabesna District. The Nabesna Road begins with the Slana Ranger Station. The Nabesna Road is a 42-mile gravel road with three river crossings. Typically, two-wheel-drive cars may be used on this route, however, it is suggested that only four-wheel-drive or high-clearance vehicles be used on this road, particularly after heavy rains.
The Kennecott District lies in the southern part of the park, approximately 50 miles southeast of Copper Center, and may be reached through Chitina, AK. McCarthy Road leads to the Chitina Ranger Station, which can be found at the beginning of the road. 59 kilometers long, the McCarthy Road is a rocky gravel road. Drivers of two-wheel drive vehicles should exercise caution on this route because of the low visibility, the soft shoulders, and the generally bad state of the road.
The park’s coastline is home to the Yakutat District. If you want to go to this area, you’ll have to use a boat.
There are no petrol stations along the Nabesna or McCarthy Roads within the park, so you’ll need to provide your own. Please make sure you have a full tank of gas before heading to these locations.
A road in the state of Alaska known as 511 Information for Passengers: The following is a link to the Alaska Department of Transportation’s website, which lists current road conditions and closures. Visit this webpage before you get in your automobile!
Access to Alaska via plane is the quickest and most convenient method of transportation. To get to Wrangell-St. Elias, you’ll need a vehicle or a shuttle service. There are public airstrips in the park if you’re flying in your own aircraft. Aircraft refueling services are not available in the park.
By Shuttle Bus
Glennallen and McCarthy are both accessible by shuttle bus service. Reservations are essential, and the timetables are quite restricted.